Fall brings an abundance of juicy apples. But what to do with them all? See our short video on how to store apples safely to last all winter, how to freeze apples, and how to make chewy apple rings and fresh homemade apple juice!
Stored correctly, most varieties of late-season apples should safely keep to the end of the year, and some as long as next spring!
Ideally, pick apples in the morning while it’s still cool, and slightly under-ripe so they don’t over-ripen in storage. Use up blemished or bruised fruits straight away as they won’t store successfully.
Apples should be stored somewhere cool but frost-free, for instance a shed, root cellar or well-ventilated basement.
Store apples in slatted boxes or racks. Make sure there is good air circulation, and prevent apples from touching in storage so that if one goes bad it won’t spread to the others. In cooler areas it’s worth insulating boxes with hay, straw or shredded paper over winter.
Large apples are likely to begin to go bad faster than small ones, so eat those first. Check on stored apples regularly and use up or compost any that are going bad. Alternatively, feed them to your garden birds.
Freeze apples for use in baking, smoothies, jam, jelly and applesauce.
Core and peel your apples. Cut them into slices and coat them in lemon juice to prevent discoloring. One lemon should provide enough juice to treat slices from up to ten apples.
Place your apple slices onto a cookie sheet, then put them into the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them into freezer bags or containers. This prevents the slices from freezing into a single lump. Alternatively, simply freeze them in portion-sized containers.
You can also prepare ready-to-bake apple pie fillings for the freezer.
Make Apple Rings
Wash and core your apples, and peel them if you wish. Cut them into very thin slices up to a quarter-inch thick, then place them onto oven racks or dehydrator trays so they’re not touching. Set your dehydrator temperature to 135ºF, or set your oven as low as it will go. Your apple rings are ready when they’re dry and leathery to the touch; this takes between six and 12 hours. Or why not dry them further for crispy apple chips?
Once your apple rings have cooled, pack them into airtight bags or containers. Store somewhere cool, dark and dry for up to six months.
Make Apple Juice
Apples can be juiced without any specialist equipment. Core and chop apples, then place them in a large stewpot. Cover with water, bring to the boil, then place the lid on and simmer on a low heat until the apples turn mushy. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, working a spoon back and forth over it to extract the juice.
If you wish, filter your juice through cheesecloth or coffee filters to make it less cloudy. Taste and adjust sweetness. Add more water if necessary.
Refrigerate your juice and use it within a week, can hot juice in sterilized jars, or freeze in airtight containers for up to six months.
Growing Your Own
Love growing your own fruit and vegetables and flowers? These techniques comes courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Planner.